Mannari: hope found at the Scottsdale polls

The idea of taking a 2-year-old to the polls is as appealing as the idea of sticking your head into a centrifuge. And yet, at 4:35 yesterday afternoon, I found myself trekking through the rain at Scottsdale’s Civic Center with my toddler in arms.

Victoria sang her best rendition of “Rain Rain Go Away” as we entered the building to vote.
The woman behind the table told me the wait would be two to three hours. I politely took my number, shoved it into my back pocket, and thought, “Well, if we don’t make it, I can always come back tomorrow.”

In a tumultuous political season, I am happy to say that my daughter and I found a little piece of Mayberry right here in Scottsdale. What could have been two horrific hours were, instead, an absolute delight.
This is in great part due to the fact that Scottsdale did everything right. We were not standing in the dreaded “long line,” but rather were comfortably seated in what felt like an auditorium.

My daughter sang and danced and amused herself while the people around us chatted with me about everything from education and study abroad, to Civil Rights and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It felt like what a polling station should be — a place where community comes together.

Almost everyone at the Scottsdale Civic Center smiled at each another. There was no sense of Democrat and Republican, but rather a feeling of unity as Americans in the election process.

The only complaints came from someone akin to the Grinch. The head of the polling station had the good sense to ask if anyone objected if Grinchy skipped the line. Everyone mildly cheered his departure and the evening went on without a speck of malice or angst. No one even gave me a sideways glare when my toddler ran around an empty space singing, “Victoria’s wearing her ice cream shirt.”

What I found at the polling station was a stark contrast to what we saw in this campaign. I didn’t see division, I saw understanding. I didn’t see bickering, I saw tolerance. In the end, I’m glad we went to the polls instead of mailing my ballot; and I’m glad we had to wait so long.

Victoria and I played games, went for a little walk, played with the lotion in the bathroom (thank you again, city of Scottsdale), made a few people laugh. We talked with our neighbors, and had a great time. We were a part of a community. Isn’t that what voting is all about?

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